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Did Washington State’s Medical Marijuana Industry Bring About Its Own Demise?

Back in 2010, a group of medical marijuana patients and growers in Washington state got together and formed a group called the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics*. Among other things, the group established a code of conduct that all members agreed to follow—akin to best practices lists adopted by more established professions like realty and banking. The members of the coalition agreed to pay taxes, follow disability access laws, and try to maintain good relationships with their neighbors.

As Jeremy Kaufman, who runs the Seattle medical marijuana dispensery and R&D firm Center for Palliative Care, recalls, membership to the group passed 100 soon after it started—no small feat in his view, given that the code of ethics required medical cannabis businesses to pay taxes, thus admitting to the federal government that they were making money selling a Schedule 1 narcotic.

Fast-forward to today, and that code of ethics has been overwhelmed by Washington’s sprawling medical cannabis industry. Following the legislative session of 2011, the state of Washington essentially set a policy of not having a policy for medical marijuana. What followed was a Wild West rush of pot dealers who played fast and loose with the rules in search of an easy buck, all under the banner of medical marijuana. [Read more at the Seattle Weekly]

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